Heightened interest in both the hybridized Bentayga SUV and the company’s ‘Beyond100’ electrification strategy are among the key contributory factors for a record year of sales, Bentley has confirmed.
The Bentley Hybrid was the fourth different powertrain variant of Bentley’s luxury SUV upon its launch in 2019, mating an E Motor producing 94 kW (126 hp) and 258 lb-ft of torque with a 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged V6 for a combined total output of 443 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. A 17.3 kWh lithium battery provided an additional 40 km of range for an estimated 693 km total.
Now in its fifth year of sales, the Bentayga model range once again proved to be Bentley’s highest seller in 2021, contributing 40 per cent to the company’s 14,659 global sales. Of those, one in five was a Bentayga Hybrid.
Bentley’s ‘Beyond100’ strategy meanwhile, aims to switch its model range exclusively to plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles by 2026 ahead of a full EV-only transition by 2030. By 2023, every model on its line-up will feature a hybrid option as part of the company’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2030. Bentley’s first full EV, likely to be an SUV according to company chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark, is expected to arrive in 2025.
“The reaction to the market introduction of the Bentayga Hybrid and anticipation for Flying Spur Hybrid demonstrate the path the luxury sector is heading, and we are positioned firmly at the forefront,” Hallmark explained in an official statement. “These numbers are validation that we not only lead the sector in sales and market share, but also investment in electric technologies and commitment to being the first fully electrified and zero carbon luxury car company in the world.”
Behind the Bentayga, the Continental GT attributed 33 per cent of the company’s sales. Fittingly, Bentley is expected to focus its hybrid and EV development over the course of the decade with the Continental as its base, in lieu of more ‘hardcore’ limited edition send-offs for the current generation. Speculation suggests a PHEV version of the grand tourer could use the same hybridized 2.9-litre V6 at the heart of the Flying Spur PHEV limousine, though Bentley has not provided a definitive timeframe.
Unsurprisingly, 2021 proved a more lucrative year for sales for Bentley than the Covid-affected 2020, with 2021’s 14,659 total sales surpassing 2020’s 11,206 by 31 per cent, and sales across each region similarly on the rise.
Interestingly, while the Americas again delivered the highest number of Bentley sales, amassing as it did 4,212 of that 14,659 total, China actually experienced a slightly higher sales increase year-on-year, the 4,033 units shifted in 2021 marking a 40 per cent a rise over than the 2,880 sold in 2020. Admittedly, the difference is minor, with Americas’ sales rising by 39 per cent.